20 Aug 2010

PNG group plans canoe invasion of Australia after being ignored by High Commission

10:03 am on 20 August 2010

A group of Papua New Guineans, who believe they didn't forfeit their Australian citizenship at independence 35 years ago, are planning to invade Australia to make Canberra take notice.

The group is from the original Australian colony on the island, the southern party of modern PNG, known before World War Two as Papua.

The leader of the group, Jonathan Jay Baure, says they were manhandled out of the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby yesterday by Australian Federal Police, after going there to push their case.

Mr Baure says they want the right to decide their own destiny and aim to raise awareness by sending a flotilla of canoes across Torres Strait from Daru in Western Province.

"We are going to cross there and invade there. Of course, I mean look at the borders between Indonesia and Western Australia. That's a long stretch and they did it. And we have only got ten minutes to go across and we don't need motorised dinghies and big ones [ships], we just need a canoe and paddle across."

Jonathan Jay Baure says he can amass a thousand people willing to make the Australian invasion.

A spokesperson for Australia's Department of foreign affairs, says the group of about 30 people staged a peaceful 'sit-in' at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.

In a statement, DFAT says the group arrived at about noon and left voluntarily at about 6.10pm.

The group presented a letter asking to be repatriated to Australia and seeking information regarding their claim for recognition of their Australian citizenship

The letter has been passed to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a response.